Stepping out for children who have cerebral palsy
10-10-10: It could be a competition dance score. It’s better than that. It’s a 10 kilometre Lions fundraising walk taking place at 10am on October 10. Participants are invited to meet under the Fitzherbert Bridge in an effort to raise money for a piece of disability equipment called a Hart Walker.
Developed in the 1980s by British medical engineer David Hart, the equipment provides hands-free mobility and allows children the opportunity to experience walking, often for the first time.
Andrea and Rikki Crutchley know first-hand the benefits this piece of equipment provides. Five years ago, their daughter Stevie, now 10, was fitted with her own walker, courtesy of Kairanga Lions and Steve Parsons House of Travel.
Stevie has a rare form of cerebral palsy that severely limits her ability to move independently. When she is strapped into the walker, which provides her with stability and a supportive frame, Stevie becomes mobile.
It’s quite ingenious,’’ Rikki explains. ‘‘It’s designed to promote the correct walking action. It helps her lung function and muscle control. And it grows with her.’’
Sitting slumped in a mobility chair can cause constriction of the upper body. The walker stretches Stevie out and is great for her physical therapy. It benefits her circulation, respiration, digestive system, while improving balance and co-ordination. For Stevie, who is mainstreamed at Feilding’s Manchester Street School, it means she can interact with other children and enjoy family and social activities.
It gives Stevie the capability to enjoy as near as possible, a normal childhood and the self esteem that goes with that. Andrea is even preparing to take her daughter on school camp.
Local 10-10-10 walk coordinator Jan Kent wants as many people as possible to support New Zealand’s combined Lions Clubs Mobility Foundation on Saturday as they raise funds for other children like Stevie. ‘‘It takes place at the bridle track and entry is simply a gold coin donation. It’s a family day. There’ll be a sausage sizzle, coffee cart, water stations and bouncy castle and people can walk for as long as they want.’’
Saturday’s walk is two kilometres downstream and then back to the bridge, and three kilometres upsteam and return. Donations can be made to Westpac Bank Account No. 03-0389-0760525-00, with details emailed to email@example.com
‘‘It’s designed to promote the correct walking action. It helps her lung function and muscle control. And it grows with her. ’’ Rikki Crutchley, Stevie’s dad, explains the benefits of the HartWalker
Stevie Crutchley’s life has been changed since she received a Hart Walker from the Kairanga Lions Club five years ago. The $10000 custom-fitted piece of equipment alters to accommodate her growth. The Lions are fundraising for more of these walkers on the 10-10-10 walk along the riverside bridle track this Saturday.